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Austin Neighborhoods

Austin’s downtown has always been the heart of the city, and its explosive residential growth over the last few years makes it a logical starting point to check out the rest of Austin's neighborhoods. From the impressive Austonian and 5 Fifty-Five condos in the heart of the city, head south to Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek off South Congress Avenue. Just north of downtown is Clarksville, French Place, Hyde Park and Pemberton, where a mix of families and students live in 1930s and 1940s charmers and duplexes. Go west and you’ll discover palatial homes in ritzy Barton Creek, Rob Roy and West Lake Hills, and expensive classics in Tarrytown and Bryker Woods. And just east of downtown is the in-demand, mixed-use Mueller Austin, where inexpensive housing, eco-friendly construction and proximity to downtown have made this a great example of urban renewal.

Downtown

Austin’s skyline started changing with the tech boom, which is when residential lofts and condos starting popping up and attracting the city’s hipsters, luminaries, out-of-state Longhorn fans and even young families who wanted to be in the thick of the action. It's easy to see the appeal; the neighborhood is brimming with nightclubs, Second Street dining and shopping, Whole Foods’ flagship location, farmers’ markets, and Zilker Park and Lady Bird Lake are both just minutes away.  Pretend you’re going to buy and take a tour of the Austonian, now the tallest building in the city, for the views.

Hyde Park

Founded in 1891, this expensive sliver of central Austin history is a magnet for families—and the site of the historical Hyde Park Homes Tour. Just minutes from the sprawling, 50,000-student University of Texas campus, residents are a mix of multiple-generation Austinites, rich Californians, young families and renting students. Drive around here because the houses are amazing.

Bouldin Creek

Surrounded by Lady Bird Lake on the north side, Oltorf Street on the south and minutes from downtown, Bouldin Creek is one of the Austin’s oldest neighborhoods. Residents run the gamut from aging hippies, tattooed techies, urban hipsters and families. Head to the anything-but-chain Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse for interesting people-watching. Want a challenge? Hike up Bouldin Avenue—the main drag here—and zigzag across and up the side streets until you get to Becker Elementary at the top. It’s a great workout, and perfect for checking out the houses.

Clarksville

With its prime location just north of downtown, cute bungalows, majestic older homes and proximity to great restaurants, Clarksville is a popular and in-demand place to live—with prices to match. Go for a glimpse of classic Austin, but stay to hang out at some of the city’s most popular bars and restaurants. Enjoy a beer at The Tavern at 12th Street and Lamar Boulevard; coffee—and maybe a glimpse of tennis star Andy Roddick—at Austin Java.

Tarrytown

Located in tiny West Austin just minutes from the Capitol, Tarrytown is notable for its exclusive homes and proximity to Lake Austin. Kristin Armstrong (Lance’s ex-wife) has a home here, as does Lance Armstrong, a number of political heavyweights and generations of old Austin families.  The Lions Municipal Golf Course—where golf great Ben Crenshaw used to play—is also in the neighborhood. Go to play a few rounds of golf on an inexpensive and famous course, ogle the pricey digs and take in serene lake views at Mozart’s.

West Lake Hills

Got Chanel? You’ll need it here. One of Austin’s priciest ‘hoods, it’s known for the top-rated Eanes Independent School District and proximity to Lake Austin and Downtown. The average home starts in the $600s and stretches into the millions for prime waterfront real estate. It’s no surprise that lots of area tech executives live here; Michael Dell’s 33,000-square-foot mansion overlooks Lake Austin. Visit for the views and to check out what a couple million bucks will buy in Austin—then go grab a cheap drink downtown.

Travis Heights

"78704—More than a Zip Code, A Way of Life." That bumper sticker pretty much defines South Austin, which includes Travis Heights and Bouldin Creek. Laid-back and funky is the best way to describe this area, with its artists, musicians, writers, students, professionals and families, who wholeheartedly embrace that philosophy. Rent a bike to tour this one—but brace your quads for the brutal hills. Relax afterward at some of the city’s most popular neighborhood haunts: South Congress Avenue for coffee at Jo’s and shopping, live music at the famous Continental Club (see nightlife), or the trail at Lady Bird Lake (see things to do)—all are minutes away.

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